You have a new business, a growing brand that you’re excited about. You’re ready to build a website and get in the online game ... or are you? While nearly 75 percent of all small businesses have a website, the sites that actually were created with the right purpose in mind seem to be few and far between. You’re ready to design your business website, but taking a little extra time before you get started can pay big dividends.
Any business can have a website. Your goal should be to develop one that is the hub of your business, designed with the specific intent of attracting website visitors, generating qualified leads and creating sales conversions. While every small business owner would love to achieve these goals, many sites don't hit the mark.
How can you avoid mindlessly creating a site that doesn’t properly represent your brand? Here are some important steps to follow to keep you on the right track.
Your domain name is much more than just your web address. It is the way people will think of your website and associate it with your brand. A good domain name will ideally have your business name in it and should be easy to remember. Try to keep it short and avoid using abbreviations and numbers if possible to prevent potential confusion for your customers.
You will need to select a top-level domain (TLD), which is the suffix at the end of your domain name. These typically include .com, .net or .biz and you should include one of these in your domain name. To prevent your competitors from claiming a domain similar to yours, you should also consider adding non-traditional TLDs like .bakery or .shoes to further distinguish your business and claim as much domain name real estate as possible.
Once you have settled on an option, you will need to confirm its availability through a domain name registrar. This group can help you legally register your domain name (and any additional variations) to ensure that it is unique to your brand and cannot be claimed by any other group, person or organization.
When you envision your website, who are the customers that will be visiting and reading it? If you have not created “personas” of your target audience, be sure to do so. Personas are a compilation of the typical traits and types of people who will engage with your brand and website.
This exercise will help you develop a website for specific people rather than a mass audience and will result in more personalized messaging that speaks directly to your customers and prospects. Your content will be more meaningful, your photos and graphics will have more appeal and you will build a connection with your audience when you use personas as a guide.
Now that you know who you are designing your website for, what are you going to tell them and how will you say it? Develop a brand voice that sets the tone and style for the words and graphics used to promote your brand on your website and throughout all of your marketing campaigns. Your content focus should describe your brand’s unique attributes and why your products and services are the right solutions for your customers’ needs.
Your content should be designed to convert website visitors to brand-loyal customers. Plan to provide photos, videos and descriptions of the products you offer along with a well-organized eCommerce store. Make it easy for people to take that next step on your site when they are most excited about your brand and encourage them to make a purchase.
Include an about us section on your site that lets people get to know you and your team to create a virtual bond and help to create long-term brand loyalty. Also, include links on your site to your social media accounts so customers can interact with your brand in various ways and always stay up to date with your business.
Your last step before creating your site is choosing the right website builder for your specific needs. While there are many website builders in the marketplace, look for one that offers you easy-to-use “drag-and-drop” functionality that allows you to quickly and easily develop your site with little to no web design experience. You’ll also want a website builder that offers a wide variety of customizable templates to choose from to give your site a professional look that reflects your brand and industry attributes.
To help you make the most of your investment, find an online resource that will bring you added value. Some companies offer things like free domain name registration, web hosting and professional email accounts when you purchase a website builder package. Typical pricing ranges from 10 to 20 dollars a month depending on the options you choose. Finally, be sure you have access to a good support team that can guide you through the web design process when you need assistance – there’s no substitute for experience.
Once you're ready to build a website that truly speaks to your customers and represents your brand, Web.com will help you make it happen. Our website packages are a great investment and include an easy-to-use drag-and-drop website builder with hundreds of web page templates that are ready for you to customize for your business.
These packages also include additional benefits like a free domain name, website hosting, professional email and eCommerce options to help you develop an online store. Best of all, we support all of this with a team of website experts who are ready to help you achieve your business and online goals.
You’re taking the time to do your homework because you want to develop a website that stands out from the crowd and effectively represents your brand. Let us know when you’re ready to take that next step – we’re always here to help you achieve online success.